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In HR, we all grew up in our own worlds. We were HR generalists, we were benefits, compensation, talent acquisition, performance, and learning.
Then, integrated talent management systems were created, so they could talk to each other and all operate on the same platform.
But each module is separate and is typically used separately to make individual functional decisions.
Today, in order to create a competitive advantage for employees to join, develop and stay with an organization, HR functions must intentionally collaborate and integrate as part of the employee life cycle. But more importantly than collaborating, the common thread that needs to be leveraged across all of these functions strategically is data. Valuing data over opinions is a key tenant where I currently work. But in HR, we typically do not leverage the data available to us to make big and broad people strategy decisions.
" The data available to HR is exponential and should not be left on the table. Nor should it be kept in the siloes we typically leave it "
Here is an illustrated example. In an organization, a group of twenty new hires start their careers in finance. Over a period of five years, four people leave the organization, four get promoted, one moves into marketing and one person moves to another country for a development opportunity. Eight people participate in specialized learning opportunities and two people are in the same job they were originally hired for. This information is powerful data that can be used as the backbone to make important people strategy decisions which HR can use to create workforce planning or tap into gaps or areas of opportunity within individual HR functions. It can also be used to highlight people’s successes which to leverage employee value propositions. However, too often, data gets lost in the silos in which it sits and is rarely used holistically.
These individuals provide information on how they’ve been rewarded, what they have learned, how they have performed, and create a picture of how people are treated within an organization. Add in how they have performed on employee social media platforms, and there is an opportunity to identify those who have significantly contributed to an organization in many ways. This data can even be used to determine their overall contributions to business results during their career. On top of this, do they fit into any diverse categories?
The data available to HR is exponential and should not be left on the table. Nor should it be kept in the siloes we typically leave it.
A best practice should be to look at data available in a variety of HR areas to develop a fuller picture of the people within an organization and inform how HR creates people strategies leveraged to business growth.
Earlier this year, we created a three year people strategy for our organization. We had significant HR and company leadership changes and HR needed a focus. But we did not start with data available to us to create a baseline. We focused on current priorities we were working on, what we were hearing internally and externally, and of course based on our own areas of expertise. If we had an opportunity to look at data available to us, I believe our strategy may have shifted, or at least our priorities may have been refocused to impact the biggest gaps and recognize our current strengths.
We speak about data in many parts of business. And we even hire people analysts within HR. But the power to actually use the data available to us will enable HR to integrate more holistically and become the value added strategic partner which many of our companies need today.